We arrived at David’s grandfather’s banana plantation after a long hike.
Turning left by the cemetery, we walked down a path through the bush, walked past a spring, crossed a bridge, and arrived there to pick the dried leaves we will use on Sunday for Nego Fugido (Runaway Black Boy).
Amarelinho, or Lil’ Yellow (as Anderson is endearingly called), is the youngest Nego Fugido hunter, and he had the aid of two helpers in making his skirt who, besides picking up the dry banana leaves, helped tie them in stacks of three.
Trying on the skirt to test its length and width is a princely scene. A true “king” tended to by his loyal tailor, getting ready for the biggest party of his kingdom. However, the banana bunches hanging low from the trees bring us back to Acupe.
Our regal hunters have the task of carrying the skirts back home once they’re ready, crossing the town’s searing streets. The leaves on their heads announce that the party is nigh.
The boys had their turn at making their skirts in the morning, and in the afternoon the adults will repeat these same gestures they acquired when they were kids.
Text and photos: Renata Meirelles